After exploring Bangkok for a day we jumped on a bus to go to Trat. The plan was that Ali, Byrun and Mary (Ali's friend who was visiting for a couple week from Canada) would drive down and meet us there. The car is just too small for that many people with luggage. A word of advice if you're traveling in a hot country- splurge on the air conditioned bus. It's worth it for sure.
It took about 6 hours to get from Bangkok to Trat and we stayed at the Ban Jaidee Guesthouse which was really charming. The owner speaks English and the guesthouse has an interesting layout since it's two houses built together. So there is some open air space in the hallway where they are connected. It's a very homey and inviting atmosphere and they even had a couple cats (one that was really sweet).
Trat is a pretty sleepy town and has a really nice vibe to it. There are a couple markets (one day and one night) and lots of interesting coffee shops and restaurants. We even found two used bookstores that sold English books!
Later in the evening Ali, Byrun and Mary arrived- they had taken the scenic route. We spent the next couple of days eating, drinking, laughing and getting massages. Divine! I think the best thing about Thailand is the cheap massages.